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Performing Like a Singing Pro: Working with a Piano, Organ, or Band

Singing with an organ is different from singing with a piano and working with a band is entirely different from either instrument. The source and quality of the sound varies across accompaniment type and you will need to practice to take best advantage of your chosen accompaniment.

The organ pipes that create the sound often aren’t near the organ console, whereas the sound from the piano comes out the back of the instrument. An organ may be harder to hear, depending on the stops the organist is using. After singing with an organ a few times, you get used to the difference in the sound. Just expect to listen more carefully, and you won’t be surprised.

Singing with a band can also be a bit confusing the first time. If the speakers are pointed away from you — and they usually are — you may have trouble hearing yourself. Ask whether it’s possible to have a speaker or a monitor turned toward you. Remember that bands often play pretty loudly, and turning the speaker toward yourself will unleash a huge wall of sound coming at you.

Monitors are a great help if the volume is just right. Talk with the sound engineer if you can’t hear yourself in the monitor. If a specific instrument plays your melody line, you may have to get used to picking out that sound from all the other instruments.

Singing with electronic amplification is very different from singing with a piano or single instrument. You may be tempted to push to make big sounds when your voice is amplified. Trust the feeling you normally have when you’re practicing. You can use your ears, but you also need to use your sense of feeling to know whether you’re pushing.

You get really tired when you push and may not realize until later. The sound engineer adjusts the sound in the house — your job is to sing your best based on how it feels and let him adjust the sound for the audience.

Sometimes instrumentalists in the band add solos as they play. Ask the bandleader how you know when it’s time to come back in. You can also ask one of the band members to nod to you when it’s time for you to come in if the instrumentalists start adding extra measures.

It’s a good idea to take along your recorder to the rehearsal so you can record it. If you get only one shot at rehearsing with the band, you can always review your recording to get used to the timing.

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